Some people hate it (Hung), some people adore it (ME). But out of those who like it, there are various types as well. We have the super robot fans (not me), the rugged realistic fans (erm me) and the slick sci-fi fans (me too). On the whole, it is safe to say that most mecha fans are male.
People have heard me raving about the greatness of IGPX. Why? The show is basically equipped with a standard racing plot – rookies, with much guts and spirit, win the competition. Then in their second year, they let fame and glory get to their heads but still win again after much trials and tribulations. It’s pretty much the way for racing anime. IGPX is great because of the racing/fight scenes and mecha designs. The 7 teams who appeared in the show have three mecha each and these 21 are superbly designed for both beauty, function and form.
Team Satomi’s Forward. One reason it’s hot is the glossy paintwork that’s even animated to the finest detail.
The team consists of a forward, a midfielder and a defender. While this concept sounds good on paper, the show doesn’t really show why having different positions is necessary. Of course, you would expect a forward to be speedy and pack acceleration, a midfielder to be all-rounded and a defender to be strong, armoured but slow. However, in the show, you can’t really tell the difference in stats. But anyway, this specialisation itself is cool already. The beauty of the IGPX mecha results from the combination of function and form.
Unlike say Super Robot Wars, Godannar or even Gundam (especially Seed, G and Wing), which are totally bullshit in terms of realistic functional design, IGPX’s mechas are perfectly streamlined for their purpose (racing) and every single part serves a rational purpose, either for more speed, handling or battle. It would be expected of Production IG actually, since the best functional designs come from their anime. The others would be Tachikomas and Jigabachi from GitS:SAC. The Macross Valkyries are also part of this elite class of form and function.
The IG machines from IGPX can also transform into a Speed Mode, not unlike Eureka seveN’s LFOs’ vehicle modes. Man, these transformations are sooo cool. While most of the time, transforming mecha are quite implausible and unnecessary, the simplicity of IG machine’s Speed Mode change totally makes sense.
All the 7 teams in IGPX have their own unique style. Satomi’s yellow and blue team colours just scream "I’m for racing!" and they are so unarmed, that it’s quite dumb of them. Team Sledgemama’s pistons-and-pipes heavy metal style fits with their rough manly image, and their weapons, the finger and arm missiles, allow for great offense. Then we have the classy and elegantly regal Team Velshtein, equipped with a super tornado punch and aerial gliders. Team Skylark, a all-girl melee team, has extendable arms for some super boxing action. Team Black Egg, that’s totally CYBER, plays defensive, without weaponry but a tonne of evasive equipment. Team Edgeraid and their hoops and wires, uses complex team strategies and manuveres like.. Spidermen. And then White Snow, who are hackers and sneaky bastards.
Team Velshtein’s mecha is something a yaoi bishonen should pilot.
Hard men pilot these. With tonnes of exhaust pipes and cylinders.
Graceful woman IG machine. Note the folded forearm can flick out like a switchblade. It’s also equipped with a slipstream disrupter.
The defender of Team Edgeraid pays tribute to Ghost in the Shell.
They have totally cool machines, Team Black Egg but they were so gay because they didn’t attack.
Fantine is voiced by Horie Yui. Hocchan!
As in most sports anime, the main team is always balanced while the opponents are one-trick ponies who lose when their one trick is defeated. To some extent, IGPX has this. But there is still a lot of amazing action scenes. I NEED TO GET the toys for these man! I hope they make like all 21 fully detailed and poseable, diecast with glossy metallic paint.
Moving on, I shall talk about Tachikoma and GitS. I really like how animal form is incorporated stylishly into these mecha (ouch Zoids!). Tachikoma is a spider, while Jigabachi is the wasp (and it means Wasp in Japanese). We all know wasps hunt spiders, hence Jigabachi’s designation of anti-tank helicopter. The attack tank in one of the earlier eps was designed like a scorpion, and the humoid mecha in the mines are shaped like gorillas. I’m so getting Megahouse’s Perfect Piece Tachikoma that’s coming in December, despite its killer price. There are also plans to build a gigantic model kit Tachikoma army with the fellows. I’m going for a gunmetal coloured EVIL one.
Macross owns Gundams seriously. Even if I like both, the former looks far better. Out of all the Valkyries, my favourites would be YF-19 (the reverse winged one in Macross Plus) and the EVIL SV-51 piloted by Ivanov in Macross Zero. The rest are cool but not as great. Gundam’s chunky designs totally do not make sense, but I do like some of them. If I had to choose one Gundam to name my favourite, it would be the F91. People tell me I’m insane though. The Astray series are pretty nice too, especially the Blue frame with the extra weapons pack and the Gold Amatu Custom. Other notable ones in the Gundam universe are Gundam EZ-8 (o8th MS Team), Kampfer (0080), RIck Dom and the Full Armour Duel Gundam.
SV-51 plane mode
SV-51 Gerwalk mode
Then we have more generic militarish mecha, like Jinki extend, Full Metal Panic etc. Some of these look good but never leave a lasting impression. I can’t even remember how the M9 looks like. But sometimes, particularly in GONZO shows, the lead mecha looks like shit but a support one appears for an episode or two and makes a huge impact. Burst Angel’s lead mecha, the gunner on rollerskates, is spectacularly unawesome but in episode 21 or 24, the high way patrol robot looks like a traffic police version of IGPX’s IG Machine (and this was before I watched IGPX).
Since we are on the topic, mecha come in all shapes and sizes. From the spiny, rectangularly chunk Zegapain (which looks like fuck), to the almost-alive Raxephon and totally alive Evas. I find organic mecha to be pretty ugly actually. And Zegapain fails. The only organic mecha I like would be Dominator from Overman King Gainer, and that is not for the appearance but its function. We should also not forget the amazing Buster Machine no. 7, who is the best looking female mecha ever (because she doesn’t have missile tits).
If we are talking about old robots, we can’t forget Super Robots. I never was much of a fan and actually find them rather ridiculous if taken seriously. Of course, I love Gravion because it is and knows it is a big joke. As for others, I totally have no interest. Raijin-oh, I watched as a kid along with the likes of Power rangers.
Then we have Steampunk mecha like Sakura Wars’ Koubu and Giant Robo. In all honesty, these are seriously butt ugly but taken in context, people still adore them. For Sakura Wars, my favourite would be the Maria Custom (by that I mean, the least ugly).
And that’s all for the random mecha talk. I love random mecha talk.